St Luke and All Saints, Darrington, Yorkshire, West Riding

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Feature Sets (4)


Darrington is a small village, 3 miles SE of Pontefract, now divided by the main A1 road. The large church stands prominently on its hill. Built of magnesian limestone and local red sandstone, it consists of a nave, chancel, W tower, S aisle, N aisle and a chapel. It was restored in 1880, but lower parts of the tower may be Norman (Pevsner 1967,175), and the tower arch retains some relevant work.


In 1086 the manor was held by Ilbert de Lacy, and a priest, a church and a mill are mentioned in the Domesday Book (VCH II, 247). The appropriation of "St Luke" by Pontefract Priory was confirmed in 1286 (Borthwick: Reg. Romayne).  


Exterior Features


Round-headed N doorway to N aisle, blocked.

If this doorway was built at the same time as the aisle, dated by both Pevsner and Ryder to the early 13thc., it was old-fashioned. Alternatively it may have been moved, a possibility given the mixed nature of the surrounding masonry. The doorway has one order, plain and chamfered.


h. (within recess) 2.17 m
w. of opening 0.86 m


Windows, tower, N wall.

Ryder (1993, 30) says this double belfry window 'may be a Norman copy of the Anglo-Saxon paired openings seen at churches like Bardsey'. However, the restoration, with a central column and capital, seems quite wrong. The masonry of the tower is mixed, as is that of the W wall.

Interior Features


Tower/Transept arches

Tower arch to nave

The tower is flanked by the aisles, and there are arches on the N, S and E sides. On the N side, a modest plain round-headed arch now leads into the vestry, which is part of the N aisle. On the S side, the arch is pointed and of two chamfered orders. The doorway and window in the W wall are of a later date. 

The E arch, leading into the nave, is tall and round-headed, with heavy, squat and widely-splayed scallop capitals. As Ryder says, much is restoration, but the basic form of the sculpture may have been preserved. The two half columns on wide pilasters have simple bases, with a softly moulded sloping form that recallis Brayton and other related works. The square imposts are also plain, decorated only with a hollow chamfered angle and, above that, a quirk. Both double capitals have been restored in small sections. They have five shields to the front and two on each side, above plain ring neckings. The cones curve slightly without being full trumpets.

imposts above paving approx. 4.25 m
w. of opening to nave 1.84 m

Interior Decoration


Re-set fragment, sometimes said to show St Andrew.

This irregular fragment is now set in the N wall of the chancel outside the altar rail. It came from a garden wall at Cridling Park, see Holmes 1891, with illustration. The cross is unusual in that it has two horizontal beams, all of which have parallel sides and end in trapezoidal blocks, like some altar crosses. The six roundels, especially that at the top R, just retain four-fold petals folded over a central hollow, 'ball-flower', a Transitional or rather Gothic form. These are suggested in the engraving in Holmes, and one at least is affirmed in his text; they could still be detected on site. See Comments.



max. h. 0.44 m
max. w. at bottom 0.27 m
max. w. at top 0.33 m

Loose Sculpture

Loose stone with 'man on horseback'.

The loose stone with 'man on horseback' (Pevsner, p. 175-6) has been removed to Pontefract Museum. 


Ryder (1993, 22, 148) says "almost the whole (tower) arch, in its present form, is the product of an 1880 restoration". He suggests an Anglo-Saxon date for the first version of the tower, remodelled with a new belfry in the later 12thc.

Some features at Darrington may be linked to work associated with the Cluniacs, who, in my opinion, worked at Pontefract Priory and Fishlake in the 1150s. As at Campsall and Conisbrough, the tower is enclosed by the aisles, and the high tower arch may be compared with Thorpe Salvinis. Curved cones on scallop capitals are unusual in Yorkshire and more often found in the the SW of England, where I have suggested the Cluniacs acquired workmen before coming to Yorkshire.

'St Andrew' slab: the round arch at the top and the use of bosses in the quadrants of the cross, together with the terminations of the cross-arms, are all features which could be 12thc. However, the ball-flower form of the six bosses may suggest a later date for the slab into the 13thc. Again I believe that there could be links with the Cluniacs, because medallions used on the clerestory windows at Malmesbury Abbey have roundels with folded-over 'petals' that also occur in South Yorkshire at Old Edlington on the S doorway. The connection between the slab and 'St Andrew'remains obscure - perhaps it relates to the provenance of the piece.



  • R. Holmes, “The boundary crosses of Pontefract”. Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, 13 (1895), 559-61.

  • N. Pevsner, Yorkshire: West Riding. The Buildings of England, Harmondsworth, 1959; 2nd. ed. revised by E. Radcliffe. 1967.

  • P. F. Ryder, Medieval Churches of West Yorkshire.West Yorkshire Archaeology Service, Wakefield, 1993.

Interior, nave, N arcade, looking W.
General view from NE.
General view from SE.
W facade of tower.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
SE 485 203 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Yorkshire, West Riding
now: West Yorkshire
medieval: York
formerly: Wakefield
now: West Yorkshire and the Dales
now: St Luke and All Saints
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Barbara English, Rita Wood 
Visit Date
26 Apr 2002